from Europe Issue 6/2002
EU PARLIAMENT MUST QUIT
MEPs in the European
Parliament, Commission and Council meet in Brussels for three weeks every
month. For just one week, more than 3,000 people - MEPs, their assistants,
translators, staff of the Parliament, Commission and Council (including
chauffeurs, ushers and catering personnel) move between cities. Every
Friday before the Strasbourg session, 17 lorries loaded with metal trunks
containing documents and personal effects travel 300 miles to Strasbourg -
and back again seven days later! Yet another convoy transports mountains
of paper from Luxembourg where the translation service and secretariat are
based. At the end of this week, the buildings in Strasbourg are deserted
for three weeks until the next session. This travelling circus costs the
European taxpayers at least 100m Euros every year!
To most people in Eastern
Region, the European Parliament is a remote and irrelevant institution.
Our farmers, industries and businesses suffering from falling incomes and
excessive EU legislation cannot accept waste of public money. The French
cannot force the rest to use Strasbourg as the seat of Parliament – if
they do then they must bear the full cost!
UP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Prescott’s Local Government
Bill intends to divide the UK into Regions as requested by the European
Commission: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England having 9
The Government claims that
this White Paper is about the devolution of power. This is simply not
true, as it will abolish our Metropolitan Councils
and County Councils, thereby
eroding our national authority and Westminster’s scrutiny of the EU.
British people want a Europe of nation states. They do not
want a Europe of Regions with no national identity!”
In our Eastern Region, there
are 57 MPs, 8 MEPs and County Council leaders of the major political
parties in the six counties. They are all elected and paid for by
taxpayers. They can assemble on a quarterly basis for public discussion of
the major local issues with agendas well advertised in local papers.
Adequate time should be given for the public to ask questions, submitted
in writing in advance. This is real democracy at grassroots level and if
Prescott is serious then he should offer such a cost-effective alternative
– not more politicians, more bureaucrats and more taxes with less public
consultation, less accountability and less transparency!
IN THE WASH!
The cockle fishing industry in
the UK is worth about £25m per annum. Many fishermen, ship owners,
seamen, pilots, engineers, sea food processors, wholesalers and retailers
depend on this work for their livelihood.
There is an EU draft Directive
for testing for toxins in cockles. Such a test is conducted in different
ways in Holland, Germany, France and the UK. Test samples of live cockles,
previously taken once a month, are now taken each week from the beds.
Transport and storage before testing must be identical to produce results
that are comparable and reliable. The UK tests are too stringent and often
give contradictory results to those conducted on the continent thereby
penalising our fishermen from Kings Lynn and elsewhere as they are denied
the right to fish!
It is unacceptable that
continental cockles, tested using continental methods, are allowed to be
imported for public consumption in the UK whilst UK cockle fishermen are
denied the right to harvest cockles that would pass the continental tests
but fail in the UK!
It is essential that the UK
test is in line with the other EU Member States. UK cockle processors can
then have independent tests from the same batch to verify the results from
DEFRA analysts. Thousands of jobs are at stake throughout the UK,
especially in Kings Lynn and Norfolk. The UK Government must act now!
ON ANIMAL TESTING
The European Parliament has
passed a Resolution on testing of cosmetic products that strikes a good
balance between our concern for animal welfare and safety of products. Use
of laboratory animals for testing will be phased out over a defined period
and there will be an ultimate ban on marketing of cosmetics tested on
animals. Provision is made for tests to continue until alternate methods
are available only for specific toxicity relating to cancer and
A specified time period for a
ban on marketing will give industry time to find alternative testing
methods that do not exist at the moment. Whilst we are all concerned about
animal welfare, politicians must take responsibility to ensure appropriate
legislation that protects the health of our citizens.
The European Parliament Report
(Schnellhardt) on hunting wild game is seriously flawed.
It does not distinguish between private and commercial
activity as it defines the
hunter as a “food business operator” and hunting as “primary
production” The “production” must be subject to strict hygiene
provisions such that game, given to a friend or local restaurant, must
conform to all hygiene rules applicable to commercial food factories or
slaughterhouses. All “processing” of game must be undertaken in a
registered and “approved establishment” thereby making it impossible
to pluck, skin or cut a piece of game in a kitchen. “Traceability” is
required for wild animals and birds, even if the birds are migratory!
Any game handed to a friend or the local restaurant must be stored
at 4/7 deg C and delivered to a veterinarian for inspection within 12
hours of being shot – unrealistic as most shoots are at weekends in
Many shoots would be
devastated with the consequent loss of livelihood and employment for many
people living in rural areas. Such restrictions would discourage farmers
from establishing small shoots to offer city people an opportunity to
enjoy country life – diversification encouraged by the EU!
I believe that the current European “Directive on game meat
(92/45 EEC)” that exempts small quantities of wild game supplied
directly by the hunter to the consumer, including the local retailer,
works very well and should not be replaced by a new restrictive directive.
17 May Postwick Current
18 May Visit - Native Yacht
20 May Parliamentary Dinner
with John Major
24 May Meeting with Essex
28-30 May EUW Visitors Group
June Pharmacy Conference in Paris
June Pharmacy Conference in Brussels
June Visit to Copdock & Suffolk Show
9 June Essex Jubilee Service, Chelmsford
Promoted & Printed by Conservative MEPs in the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, Brussels: Khanbhai, Sturdy, Beazley & Van Orden